To the Gulf – From A Sister Coast

The coast is our playground.  We are one of the blessed few who live within minutes of a shoreline.  No major planning needed. At a moment’s notice, we can jump shoeless into our van with the stashed bag of sand toys in the back and head to the edge of the world.

Tommy and the Beach 2 Part 2010

There’s something transcendent that happens when you stand where land meets water.  For me, I feel like I am meeting my Maker. A stunning visual that represents the mystery of our creation.  My feet are planted firmly on the solid ground while my eyes, and soul, and imagination wander to the immense depths of the unknown.  The contrast is profound. And addictive.

February 2009
I grew up, for all intensive purposes, in the desert.  Where water is sacred. And the ocean is a dream. My soul is at peace under a warm summer starry desert sky but my spirit is complete at the water’s edge. I crave the hot winds of the desert monsoon but I also can not live without the crashing of the ocean’s waves.

My children are being raised as sandy ocean souls.  My husband grew up surfing and he is at his happiest when floating on his board beyond the breaking waves.  The ocean is a part of us. It is not only nature’s backdrop to our lives but it is woven into the fibers of our being.

Seeing the images of the constant oil stream into the mighty sea in the Gulf literally makes my stomach turn. I can only watch it for so long and hear so much before I feel utterly helpless and angry. This post by Megan of The Velveteen Mind really hit me hard as she shared her perspective as a mother living in Gulfport, MS.  I didn’t want to read a post like this – to be honest.  It made this most current tragedy all too real for me.  Sometimes I prefer to feel like the problems of the world are too far away to really have an impact on me.  Sometimes I like to bury my busy head in the sand, put my fingers in my ears, and sing a happy “la-la-la!”  It’s pure survival instinct I think.

But the underwater images of the gushing oil, the images of the oily pelicans, the constant news reports of the failed attempts to stop the leak, and then, this post by a mother talking about what the shore means to her and her family have forced me to open my eyes wide to the reality of what is happening to so many living creatures who depend and thrive on the waters of the Gulf Coast.

I can not imagine if this were happening on my shores. If my children’s playground was being threatened to be taken away or changed forever. It chills me to the core, the thought.  Although my Pacific shores are not near the Gulf shores and even though I have no direct relationship with the Gulf waters, we are joined.  We are a sister Coast.

The water makes us one.

The road we are on as a coast-loving people is a long and hard one. But we’re on it together. My coast is your coast. My skies are your skies.  We are all delicately interconnected within nature’s web.  And although I still feel utterly helpless and quite angry about where we are at with this oil gush, I am holding onto hope that the Gulf playground will triumph in the end.

A Feb 2010 Day with Tommy


Over the weekend, a few bloggers hosted a “Love the Gulf” blog carnival to inspire “Awareness, Action and Hope.”  I wanted to add my voice to the chorus. If you have the means to do so, there are several organizations in need of donations so that they can do the work needed to help save the Gulf.  Among them are Earth Share, Network for Good and Oxfam.  To read other personal Gulf stories, click on the button below.

7 Responses to “To the Gulf – From A Sister Coast”

  1. AK says:

    ITs really sad to witness this disaster. Hope it get organized at the earliest.

  2. Ash says:

    How did I miss Love the Gulf?!

    I can’t watch the coverage any longer. The realization of the possibility of complete loss, waking up every day to more bad news, keeping tabs on BP and the government – it effects me so deeply I’ve found myself lashing out at Hubs and kids when little things frustrate them.

    I have no idea how or when this will end, but I do know the souls of the Gulf. “The Gulf playground will triumph in the end” – this I know for sure.

    Thanks for the Pacific coast love 🙂

  3. Sarah says:

    Thanks for sharing the link to Megan’s post. It’s been a while since I’ve popped over there.

    “My coast is your coast. My skies are your skies.”

    Yes, sister. Yes.

  4. Deb Rox says:

    Sandy ocean souls! Their beaches–all of them–should be beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this gorgeous bit of connection.

  5. Ann's Rants says:

    This is beautiful–the words and the photos.

    Off to read Velveteen Mind, because ignorance helps nothing.

  6. Lee, this is the most beautiful piece of writing. I am blown away. When you start writing about something you are passionate about, something you love; you sweep us away. Absolutely stunning, my friend. I’m so glad you linked it up to the Love the Gulf thing.

    Gees, this is gorgeous writing. (I feel this way about Lake Michigan.)

  7. Karen says:

    Thanks for linking to Megan’s post, Lee – even though we are land locked here in Utah and get our spiritual soul buzz from the mountains, the powdery snow and the awe-inspiring red rock formations – we pine for the oceans.

    Her words (and yours) bring that yearning right back. In a very bittersweet sort of way.

    My heart aches for the Gulf – we are just bystanders hopeless, helpless, frustrated. But we are there in spirit, arms linked in solidarity (even if just through our computers and our imaginations).

    I needed to read this. Thanks.

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